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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 01:09 GMT 02:09 UK
Pet passport scheme 'to include US'
Dog in quarantine
US diplomats complain about quarantine
Britain's pet passport scheme could be extended to the US and Canada next year if ministers give the go-ahead, reports say.

The scheme allows animals from an approved list of countries to avoid undergoing six-month quarantine periods.

The two-year-old scheme currently operates for animals travelling from Europe, Australia, and Japan.

The Times reported that Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley is hoping to make a formal statement in June.

Blood tests

The move has been prompted by two new studies of the threat to Britain posed by rabies and other diseases.

Experts believe it is possible to relax the quarantine rules for pets, provided they have been microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and blood tested to ensure that the vaccine is effective.

Pets must also be de-loused, de-wormed and subject to a full veterinary inspection.

North American pets would be obliged, in addition, to register with a vet in Britain to ensure that regular checks are made after arrival.

Servicemen reluctant

The government has been under pressure to reform the quarantine laws from the US administration.

American diplomats and servicemen with strong attachments to their pets are reluctant to put their animals through the quarantine process.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed that the issue was being examined, though he stressed that no decisions had been taken yet.

He said ministers were considering two reports from universities which examine veterinary risk assessments relating to rabies and other diseases found in places such as North America.

See also:

17 Oct 01 | England
Kennel owners bid for compensation
03 Jan 01 | UK Politics
More countries in pet scheme
03 Aug 99 | UK Politics
Pets' passport to freedom
26 Feb 00 | UK
Dog has its day in Chunnel
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